For all those who didn't catch on last season, here's a little cheat-sheet to get caught up by tonight at 10/9 central:
Nick is an idealistic lawyer with a blah wife and a cute kid. His dad, Dutch George, was also a lawyer, and worked exclusively for the wealthy Darling family. Nick grew up with the Darling kids, resenting them and his father for how much time Dutch spent on the family's business. When Dutch was killed (possibly murdered), Nick took on the Darlings as clients so he could use their resources to look into his father's death.
Key questions for Nick this season: Will he be able to maintain his idealism and ethics while working for the Darlings? Will Nick ever get to the bottom of his father's mysterious demise? Will he dump his boring wife already? And when is he going to get those sideburns under control?
Seriously, seriously so boring. She's insecure and oddly flighty, buying ridiculous art one second and forcing her well-paid attorney husband to paint their living room over Thanksgiving the next. Plus, is anyone else bothered by the fact that Nick and Nina have basically the EXACT SAME HAIRCUT?
Key questions for Nina this season: Will she grow a personality any time soon? And really, do she and Nick think that popping out another kid will solve their problems?
The patriarch of the Darling family, Tripp wants to encourage his children to use the wealth he's given them to better the world. Dutch George was Tripp's best friend, and despite learning some rather unpleasant facts about his bud last season, Tripp still holds Dutch's memory in the highest regard. Tripp also views Nick as another son.
Key questions for Tripp this season: Good guy? Bad guy? Who even cares? I just hope we get several more scenes of a drunk Tripp Darling imparting wisdom to his wayward children.
Leticia Darling is the devoted wife of Tripp Darling ... and the secret lovah of Dutch George. Oh, snap! Despite being a decades-long adulteress, Leticia is devoted to Tripp and wildly protective of her five children. Tripp may come off as a big cuddly teddy bear, but there's a reason all the Darling kids go to Leticia when they've got a problem.
Key questions for Leticia this season: Will she really help daughter Karen break up Nick and Nina's marriage? And if so, does she need any more volunteers?
Patrick is the eldest Darling child, married to Ellen Darling, and father of some unseen children. (I love it when kids don't start taking over a grown-ups show ... cough, cough, Heroes, cough.) Patrick faces a lot of pressure in trying to live up to his father's expectations, and is running for U.S. Senate for the state of New York. Patrick has turned to Tripp's nemesis Simon Elder for help in breaking away from his father's control. He's also having an affair with a transsexual named Carmelita, who disappeared at the end of last season. This resulted in Ellen shooting him in the leg at the family cabin.
Key questions for Patrick this season: Will he and Tripp reconcile? And what happened to poor Carmelita? Did Tripp kidnap her? Did Ellen? DID PATRICK????
Oh, yeah, and how is that Senate race thing going?
Remember that affair Leticia and Dutch were having? Well, the funny thing about adultery is that it can lead to some sticky paternity issues...which is where the Rev. Brian Darling comes in. Yup, the guy who spent most of last season telling our boy Nick how much he hated him is, in fact, Nick's half-brother. If I had to pick a favorite Darling, it's a tough call between Brian and Karen. "What about when he forced his illegitimate child to pretend to be a Swedish orphan?" you ask. "What of it?" I reply. I don't think DSM had a funnier moment than when Brian tried to buy his kid from his former mistress during a custody hearing. I agree, three million dollars is a very respectable offer.
Key questions for Brian this season: How is he handling the transition of leaving the church and joining the family business? Are he and Nick ever going to start getting along? And how is Brian Junior (aka Gustav) doing in Brazil?
The eldest Darling daughter is a four-time divorcee who is still in love with her childhood sweetheart, Nick. And let's be honest, folks—don't we all pretty much think Nick is still in love with her, too, despite his many protests? Although she comes off as hilariously airheaded, Karen is the most capable Darling child, as her father rightly noted. Though it's never been stated, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that daddy's girl Karen is the behind-the-scenes show-runner of the Darling Empire.
Key questions for Karen this season: Will she ever be successful at winning Nick back? And if Nick and Karen were engaged back when they were eighteen, why did they ever break up? And how is that whole corporate spying/illicit affairing going with Simon Elder?
Arguably the most irresponsible Darling—which, given all the explanation that has gone before, is really saying something. Yet whether Jeremy is tempting fate by dangling off the Brooklyn Bridge, sleeping with his twin sister's frenemy, or lying about his name/background/occupation to his newest flame, Jeremy is a total snooze. No wonder he and Nina have such chemistry.
Key questions for Jeremy this season: If he does achieve his lifelong dream of launching into space, will I find it as boring as when he was arrested on a stolen yacht full of illegal immigrants?
As much as I liked Juliet Darling, I'm relieved to hear that she's been downgraded from series regular to recurring character. DO YOU SEE HOW LONG THIS BLOG POST IS? In an overstuffed cast, Juliet's siblings' storylines were far more interesting than hers, including dullsville Jeremy's. Bring Juliet back for the occasional comic relief—her "twintuition" could kick in if Jeremy ever falls down a well. But that's it.
Much like Tripp Darling himself, this "richest man on earth" (dang, that must stick in Tripp's craw) prompts the question—Good guy? Bad guy? And also like Tripp, the answer is, "Beats me." But in any event, I hope Blair Underwood smooth-talking entrepreneur is around more often this season. No one else can play the antagonist to Nick and the Darlings' wackiness but this Russian-speaking son of ex-patriots bazillionaire. Oh, and did I mention he used to be married to a Kenyan PRINCESS? I didn't even know there were Kenyan princesses.